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Google, Microsoft and Yahoo slammed by India's Supreme Court over sex selection

The companies' search engines can be used to find advertisements for products that determine the sex of an unborn child, which has been illegal in India since 1994.

Claudia Cruz/CNET

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have found themselves in legal hot water in India.

The Supreme Court of India, the country's final court of appeal, has concluded that the companies' search engines violated Indian laws by hosting advertisements for tools, kits and clinics that help determine the sex of a foetus.

Prenatal sex determination was made illegal in India in 1994 to prevent sex-selective abortions.

Lawyers from the companies insist that resolving the Court's issue is not technically feasible, adding that blocking all such keywords will also affect content that is only remotely related to the topics, The Economic Times reports.

The apex court is having none of it, going as far as to suggest the companies leave India entirely if they are unable to resolve such issues.

"You have to do something about this [such ads on search engines]. This has become a social evil," Justice Dipak Misra said. "You have to abide by the law. You can't say that you are not technically equipped. If you say you are, get out of the market."

The three search giants have been asked to meet with technical experts within the next 10 days to suggest steps to prevent such forms of illegal ads from appearing on their websites.

They were each reached for comment but did not immediately respond.